Human Rights at Sea welcomes joint IMO and IOM statement concerning migration by sea

Human Rights at Sea Founder, David Hammond, has welcomed today’s joint IMO-IOM statement concerning mixed migration and the overt affirmation by the two organisations to enhance their mutual co-operation and collaboration.

Speaking from Malta where HRAS is meeting with local NGOs undertaking migrant operations, Mr. Hammond said: “The increasing focus of the IMO in looking at the migrant issue is strongly welcomed. It is key to the future dealings of the shipping community, not just with making the humanitarian and legal decision to rescue those individuals in peril at sea, but in terms of planning vessel routes, providing temporary facilities onboard, providing logistical and medical support, undertaking Deprivation of Liberty of suspected criminals where appropriate as well as reviewing all necessary crew training for dealing with such eventualities wherever in the world these rescue operations may take place.”

“The reality is that global migration as a maritime issue is something that is not going away. HRAS is seeing increasing movements of displaced persons through Central Africa for example, and where it is currently conducting studies. Migrant and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) movement is not south, but northwards through the Sahel and Sahara regions heading for the Mediterranean. Mass rescue at sea is no longer the exception, but will soon become a norm. The IMO will therefore be one of the key organisations at the forefront of safety and technical support to the maritime industry in response to this emerging trend.”

IOM_IMO_SquareJoint statement from IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu and IOM Director-General William L. Swing on enhanced cooperation and collaboration between the two Organizations

“At our meeting today, on 29 June 2015, in London at the Headquarters of the International Maritime Organization we discussed the ongoing situation of migration by sea. We noted the urgency with which the situation must be addressed of thousands of migrants who find themselves on perilous journeys. We held a silent minute in honour of the thousands of migrants who lost their lives on such journeys and we resolved to intensify our Organizations’ cooperation to find international solutions to the issues at hand;

We recalled the agreement of cooperation between the two organizations concluded in 1974 and noted with satisfaction the close engagement of the two organizations in accordance with arrangements made from time to time;

We recognized that unsafe mixed migration across the oceans and seas has been a serious concern for decades and that it has increased dramatically in recent years posing a major challenge to the international community;

Concerned about the loss of life, injury, trauma and serious human rights’ violations affecting migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees travelling by sea, we acknowledged that the current situation is a humanitarian crisis and requires concerted global action;

In light of this we decided to:

  1. Establish an inter-agency platform for information sharing on unsafe mixed migration by sea, in collaboration with other interested agencies, as soon as possible;
  2. Disseminate information material on the dangers of unsafe and irregular migration by sea, in collaboration with other interested agencies;
  3. Promote the relevant provisions of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR), the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL), and international migration law;
  1. Support the relevant technical cooperation programmes of each organization;
  2. Remain engaged by setting up technical or advisory bodies, as appropriate, on terms and conditions to be mutually agreed upon in each case;
  3. Facilitate discussions to find solutions to unsafe migration by sea;
  4. Urge the international community to take robust measures against people smugglers who operate without fear or remorse and who deliberately and knowingly endanger the lives of thousands of migrants at sea.”

IMO Media statement HERE

IMO Press Briefing HERE

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